Friday, June 27, 2003
Re: Southern Economic Union


Let me expand on my argument a little bit. Let me try painting a picture, gloomy, yet not improbable.

1. As their populations keep exploding, with government that are inept, and absolutely incapable of getting capital into the state, the two big boys (UP and Bihar) keep sinking lower and lower. At the same time, the south keeps its current growth rate, prospering.
2. Soon, there emerges a cleavage in ethos between the states - a progressive south versus the laggard north. At the same time, the north seems set to increase political influence, due, essentially, to their failure to control their population, something that the south thinks deserves to be penalised.
3. The south begins to feel that the north, if given control over the Center, will just be a drag on it. I sometimes see a beginning of this scenario in those "give Bihar independence" or "trade Bihar for PoK" jokes (may be I am paranoid).
4. A kind of 80's Mumbai situation arises in the south - with migrants pouring in from the north, and there is a backlash from the native population. This would not be unprecedented - it happened in both Maharashtra, and gave rise to one Balasaheb Thackerey.

So, you see, it is not that improbable that SEU will emerge as some kind of loose political alliance between teh southern states, to essentially protect their political interests, and influence policy in Delhi. Hence, the right way, as I see it, is not suppression of SEU. Let it be formed, even as a political alliance. The right way is to put pressure on the north to reform and get their act together.

One more note. As for that first step to secession idea, well, I see that as a far shot. While it is true that the north will be a drag on the south soon (if they do not reform i.e.), the union is still good for the south. For one, the defence of south is also strong. For another, the southern states lack the economic primaries that are important for a viable economy - most importantly, a perennial river.


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